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The Misfits (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Western | 1 February 1961 (USA)
A divorcée falls for an over-the-hill cowboy who is struggling to maintain his romantically independent lifestyle.

Director:

John Huston

Writer:

Arthur Miller (screenplay)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Gay Langland
Marilyn Monroe ... Roslyn Taber
Montgomery Clift ... Perce Howland
Thelma Ritter ... Isabelle Steers
Eli Wallach ... Guido
James Barton ... Fletcher's Grandfather
Kevin McCarthy ... Raymond Taber
Estelle Winwood ... Church Lady Collecting Money in Bar
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Storyline

(1961) Written by Arthur Miller, directed by John Huston, starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, and Eli Wallach. In Reno, Nevada, a depressed divorcèe, Roslyn Tabor (Monroe), and Gay Langland (Gable), an aging ex-cowboy prone to gambling, who survives by rounding up and catching mustangs (which had once been sold as horses for children, but now the only market's selling them to slaughterhouses for the manufacture of dog food). Wallach plays Guido, Langland's pilot partner, and Clift plays Perce Howland, a drifter rodeo rider. The Misfits was the last completed film for both Monroe and Gable, her childhood screen idol. It was not a commercial success at the time of its release, but it has since garnered critical respect for its script and performances Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It shouts and sings with life ... explodes with love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los inadaptados See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Seven Arts Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally released on what would have been Clark Gable's sixtieth birthday. He died before the film was completed at the age of fifty-nine. See more »

Goofs

When Gable, Monroe, and Cliff are standing in the back of the truck watching the horses with the binoculars, the clouds behind them change with almost every scene....from none, to one, to many. All taking place in screen time of about 30 seconds. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Isabelle Steers: Young man, do you have the time? I got six clocks in the house and none of them work.
Guido: Twenty after nine.
Isabelle Steers: After? It's twenty after, dear. Dahlin'. Five minutes.
Roslyn: What about you?
Isabelle Steers: I'm all set, I just tyin' my sling. The lawyer said nine thirty sharp, dahlin'.
Roslyn: Okay.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no closing credits of any kind. Not even the words "THE END" appear on the screen. See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Making 'The Misfits' (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Gable and Monroe Are Terrific
14 January 2008 | by drednmSee all my reviews

THE MISFITS is a delicate gem of a film, poetic and harsh and as cold as those western stars on the horizon that Gable and Monroe drive toward at film's end. The title refers to the wild mustangs they hunt, but it also describes the 4 main characters, each lost in a world they hardly recognize. At one point Monroe points to a mountain vista and says "it's like a dream." Each of the characters is wounded and lost in some way. Marilyn Monroe plays a divorcée trying to figure out what to do next. Clark Gable plays a cowboy in a vanishing west. Montgomery Clift plays a rancher cheated out of his legacy when his mother remarries. Eli Wallach plays a guy whose life has come to a standstill after the death of his wife. The characters circle each other, trying to make connections, but their timing is always off. Gable and Monroe seem to find something until they go on the mustang hunt.

Gable is magnificent as the aging cowboy who fears "working for wages" as the final sign of giving in to the commonplace and losing the old west. But the old west is, of course, already lost. Most of the action takes place in and around Reno, the perfect symbol for what the west has become. His drunk scene (after he has seen his kids) is astonishing in its pain and ugliness. It's a great performance.

Monroe is stunning and gives a quiet and simple performance that shows what she could have done (had she lived). Leaving her "dumb blonde" persona in the dust, what we get here is Monroe the actress, and she's just plain terrific. Aside from the scene (done in a long shot) where she rages at the men after they have captured the horses, Monroe plays this character very quietly and with lots of small reactions (watch her eyes). It's a great performance.

Clift and Wallach do wonders with their characters and provide a lot of the tension since all three men pursue Monroe. Thelma Ritter is solid as Isabelle. Estelle Winwood has an odd role as the old lady collecting money. James Barton and Kevin McCarthy have small roles.

I think THE MISFITS is a must see for any serious film buff. The film collapsed under the weight of its publicity in 1961 and there was a huge backlash when Gable died within 2 weeks of finishing the film. Yet the film is gorgeous, a shimmering Arthur Miller poem to the worlds and people we've lost.


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